What started out as just another morning joyride in the air turned out to be anything but, as two men from Traer encountered a tragedy that left one of them dead and the other still fighting for his life in an Iowa City hospital.
Last Wednesday morning around 10:50 a.m. local time, a small single-engine plane piloted by WIlliam Konicek, of Traer, crashed into a field west of Clutier near the intersection of 245th Street and R Avenue.
The plane, a 1946 Taylorcraft BC-12D, was completely destroyed after becoming engulfed in flames during the crash, killing Konicek and leaving his passenger, Max Morrison, also of Traer, in critical condition.
Above, a charred frame is all that remains of William Konicek’s plane following last week’s crash near Clutier. Konicek was killed and his passenger, Max Morrison, was severely injured. At left, the damage as it appeared from above.
The Tama County Medical Examiner's Office was finally able to make a positive idendification late last week and family has been notified.
Konicek, age 69, was well-known in the Traer and Clutier communities. He had been piloting planes for several years and was especially active after his retirement. Konicek was known by many as a bus driver for North Tama schools.
Morrison, who remains in critical but stable condition at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics burn center in Iowa City, was severely injured after attempting to save his friend after the plane went down. Morrison will need much recovery time and the upcoming blood drive on December 13 will honor him.
The FAA has not officially commented on a cause of the crash. Utility lines were down near the crash site, but it remains unclear if the plane struck them and was then brought down, or was already in trouble before striking the lines.
The cause of the crash will likely take several months to determine, as the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will coordinate with local law enforcement.
The plane was issued its most recent certificate by the FAA on October 3, which was valid for the next three years.
The Star-Clipper was the first media outlet on scene and will continue to provide updates on the cause of the crash when they become available.